What's the best iPhone 3g portable battery?
May 13, 2009 8:47 PM   Subscribe

iPhone 3G portable power. So many choices. What's the best one?

With a couple long trips planned in the next few months, I would like to find a portable solution for my iphone battery woes.

I have some criteria.

1.) I would prefer if it wasn't permanently fixed to the phone (ie. Mophie)
2.) The case I have right now (switcheasy neo) doesn't exactly permit for a device that attaches directly to the iphone - so preferably a battery source that uses the ipod connector cable.

So - if you have one that you use and love, then I'd love to hear about it.. and even just as importantly, if you know of one to stay away from, I'd appreciate that too. Thanks in advance!
posted by jazzman to Technology (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've been using a battery charger from Proporta that will charge anything that can get power via usb. I've been using it for a N95, and it's been working great.
posted by daboo at 9:03 PM on May 13, 2009

I made myself one of these. It works great and will charge just about anything that has a USB adapter. For something commercial, Brunton makes something that seems to fit your needs, though I haven't used it myself.
posted by strangecargo at 9:04 PM on May 13, 2009

Stay away from the Energizer Energi to Go for iPod if you're charging your iphone -- I heard it works fine with iPods, but I can tell you from direct experience that it'll pretend to charge your iPhone battery while actually draining it instead.
posted by suedehead at 9:08 PM on May 13, 2009

I just got the Just Mobile Gum Pro a week ago and it's great. I use it for my iPod Touch, and it works a treat and holds way more than one full charge.
posted by rtha at 9:16 PM on May 13, 2009

I have an X-PAL, a model called the Harry II, which I got a deal on from Woot.com. It is the sort that has a simple usb port for connecting to the phone. I have to say, I think this is a better system than a battery that attaches to the phone. Yes it means you are tethering your phone to your bag or your pocket, but it doesn't add significant bulk to the phone, and I would worry about breaking the phone or battery, having a large object clipped to the bottom of my phone. Of course, YMMV.

I recommend shopping around based mostly on the mAh of the battery. The higher the better, and it's worth paying a little more. Mine, for example, is 2000mAh, which is almost enough to recharge my iPhone 3G twice from the backup battery. A friend had a backup battery around 1000 or 1200mAh, and it was barely worth it. It would prolong the life of the iPhone, but didn't seem to actually CHARGE it very much.
posted by raygan at 9:17 PM on May 13, 2009

This one is a big big, but in general if you want infinite power, no matter how long or how far you are from an outlet, the only real choice is a hand-crank recharger.

I used one when camping once: iPhone Google Maps for two weeks.
posted by rokusan at 9:17 PM on May 13, 2009

I just reviewed 12+ batteries for the iphone. If you want a case that fits around the phone (like the mophie,) the best form/factor/function is from InCase (1800mAh). If you just want battery life, the TruePower IV from FastMac.com has a better life (3100mAh), and a standard ipod attachment...but really isn't something you can put oin your pocket.

On the external battery front, the Just Mobile Gum Pro (4400mAh) that rtha mentions has the greatest battery life of any of the batteries I found. It was about the size of about 1/2 the iphone. Feel free to follow up on this if you want more (I don't know when the article will hit the web/print)
posted by filmgeek at 3:59 AM on May 14, 2009

My husband likes the 3G-Juice, and he's had outstanding customer support.
posted by leahwrenn at 4:51 AM on May 14, 2009

filmgeek -- it's not my thread, but did you review any chargers that utilized AA/AAA/etc batteries?
posted by suedehead at 5:29 AM on May 14, 2009

This is one of the reviews that finally sold me on the Just Mobile.
posted by rtha at 6:01 AM on May 14, 2009

I'll second the Mintyboost mentioned above by strangecargo. Brief review here. If you don't feel like soldering, you can buy one on Etsy.
posted by exogenous at 7:37 AM on May 14, 2009

Suedehead - no, I didn't look @ any battery holders that took conventional batteries.
posted by filmgeek at 12:04 PM on May 14, 2009

Mintyboost runs on two AAs.
posted by exogenous at 12:19 PM on May 14, 2009

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